Petition to Rename Trump Tower's Address to "Obama Avenue" Gains Momentum
|thenorthstar||Aug 20, 2019|
A new viral petition aims to protest President Donald Trump in a unique way: by renaming the New York City block where Trump Tower is located after former President Barack Obama.
The MoveOn petition, which wants to rename part of Fifth Avenue “President Barack H. Obama Avenue,” is gaining steam. As of today, the petition has more than 430,000 signatures. The petition will be delivered to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Council.
The petition asks that the stretch of Fifth Avenue between 56th and 57th Streets be renamed after the former Democratic president for “saving our nation from the Great Recession; serving two completely scandal-free terms in office; and taking out Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind September 11th, which killed over 3,000 New Yorkers.”
It was launched by Elizabeth Rowin, who lives in Los Angeles, in December. Rowin told CBS News that she created the petition after seeing a comedian joke about it on Twitter.
“I thought, ‘That’s a great idea and probably no one is going to do anything about it,’ so I decided to do it,” she said. It initially gained some attention in January but then fizzled out. The petition garnered renewed attention after a man in Scotland tweeted about it.
“I really didn’t think there was a chance that it could happen,” Rowin said.
“I think it would be fabulous. I think people feel kind of helpless right now, and it’s a way to troll [Trump]. If he does hear about it, maybe it would slow him down and distract him.”
Rowin did not immediately respond to The North Star’s request for comment.
It appears that Rowin’s wish, and that of over 400,000 others, may not be fulfilled. New York regulations require 100 signatures for the local area to consider a secondary name and the honoree must be dead. According to The New York Times, the local community board has a moratorium on renaming streets. Secondary street names are also reviewed after 10 years.
Councilman Keith Powers, a Democrat who represents the area, told The North Star that he recognizes the support for the petition but does not support it.
“I recognize and understand the great deal of support behind the petition to rename 5th Avenue in honor of President Obama. President Obama embodies the best of our political system and leaves a remarkable legacy," Powers said in a statement. "The classiest President of our time deserves better than being honored next to the home of Donald Trump. He has and will always deserve more than that.”
Powers told The New York Times that the best way to protest against Trump is to win back the White House in 2020. "I feel like we're engaging in the game that the other side wants us to play if we start doing this tit for tat thing. I think we should find the next Obama, and put them in the White House," he said.
City Council speaker Corey Johnson, a Democrat, also said that he opposed the renaming despite being in favor of celebrating Obama.
“The Obamas epitomize class, dedication to public service, and respect for the Oval Office,” Johnson said in a statement posted on Twitter. “I’m pretty confident we can find a better way to honor the greatest president of my lifetime than by trolling the worst president of my lifetime.”
In May, Los Angeles unveiled Obama Boulevard in honor of the 44th president. The newly named Obama Boulevard, which replaced Rodeo Road, intersects with Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in one of Los Angeles’ predominantly Black neighborhoods. It runs from Culver City to Mid-City Los Angeles.
When announcing the street name change, Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson said: “Our history is important and this is one way that we will ensure that America’s 44th president’s legacy is shared for generations to come for Angelenos and visitors alike.”
Obama was also honored by Rapid City, South Dakota in July with a statue. The new statue, which was unveiled on July 15, joined the presidential statues of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and others as part of the City of Presidents project.
Sculptor James Van Nuys depicted Obama waving while holding his daughter Sasha’s hand. The sculpture is based on the iconic image of the president walking with his daughter as he took the stage at his first inauguration.
The life-size bronze statues in the City of Presidents project are located in historic downtown Rapid City. The project launched in 2000 in order “to honor the legacy of the American presidency.”
About the Author
Nicole Rojas is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has published in various venues, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia and Australia.